Group looking to connect rural communities to broadband

Time is moving forward and so is technology.

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 3:28 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 5:38 PM

PARKE, VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Time is moving forward and so is technology. 

As we see the advances in our schools, our jobs, and even our medicine, some communities say they are struggling to keep up.

"I would certainly define it as a very poor coverage in this county," said Parke County Councilman Roy Wrightsman.

Parke is one of several rural communities with a lack of access to broadband connectivity. 

"It's also becoming more visible to everyone that this is a real issue," said Wrightsman.

Groups like West Central 2025 are taking notice. The group represents Parke, Vermillion, Clay, Vigo, Sullivan and Putnam counties with two people from every area.

The group's goal is to work together to correct issues that may impact the quality of life, like broadband.

"This has been an issue for years, years coming now," said Member Dylan Riggen.

Riggen says the idea is to get the six counties in line as a region to keep up at the state level.

Recently, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced plans for his Next Level Connections program. The program will put money towards trails, highway projects and broadband expansion into rural areas.

"This is an issue that we think is important," said Riggen, "and we want to see the other counties get involved and kind of come together as a region."

The governor's plans have many communities excited for the possibilities.

"Infrastructure-wise, you can do this and it opens up so many doors in this divide between the rural and urban parts of the state," said Wrightsman.

West Central 2025 is in the beginning stages. Organizers say they've been in operation for about two months.

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